A Derry SDLP councillor last night insisted he will not withdraw shocking remarks about a fellow councillor’s Scottish accent.
Colr. Jimmy Carr claimed he “can’t understand” Sinn Féin councillor Eric McGinley and that he stands by remarks he made on a social networking site that “subtitles” are needed when the other councillor speaks.
Colr. Carr made the comments following a row this week over funding for the restoration of the Bogside Artists’ murals.
Posting on the website of the Bogside Artists about Derry City Council funding for the maintainance of the famous murals, Colr. Carr stated: “What makes it all the more sickening is the shinner who put forward the proposal to block is a Scotch man! Subtitles needed!”
The SDLP colr. said he does not intend to withdraw the comments but insisted that it is “not racism.”
Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Colr. Carr said: “I can’t understand a word he says. He is representing Derry and he is not from this city. Why didn’t Paul Fleming or one of the other Derry councillors speak on it? Why did they let a Scottish man do all the talking?” he added.
Colr. Carr acknowledged his comments were “rash” but said he stands by them. “I’ll take the flak over my comments. If I lose my job, I lose my job. I can’t sit back and let a Scottish man come into Derry City Council and do this.
“I completely stand by it and don’t intend to withdraw a word. I genuinely don’t understand a word of what he says.
“Obviously my reputation is going to be damaged by what I said but I need people to understand my anger at Sinn Féin,” he added.
Sinn Féin issued a statement through its group leader on Derry City Council, Colr. Paul Fleming, in which he said people would be shocked.
“I think most people in Derry will be shocked by these comments and they speak for themselves. It’s a matter for Sinn Féin to decide who speaks for the party on any issue in Derry City Council.
“What is of greater concern for me is that this message is coming from an SDLP Councillor. What is this saying to all nationalities who wish to visit Derry, work here, set up home here or indeed take on the role of an elected representative?” he said.